Looking to get started as a tutor? Tutoring is a terrific side hustle that can net you anywhere from $20 an hour to over $90 an hour, depending on the areas of your expertise and the going rate in your town or city. In fact, at one point, I was earning over $1000 a month from my side hustle. I’ve scaled back considerably since then, but it is still one of my favorite side income streams. If you’re looking to establish yourself as a tutor, keep these four tips in mind:
Know Your Stuff
This seems like a “well, duh” moment if there ever was one, but it most literature on tutoring, the exact opposite is recommended. I’ve seen various articles that suggest things like work your way through a middle school math textbook and you’ll be ready. Sure, except for that one kid who asks the pesky “Why?” question. Or that one kid’s teacher who is actually pulling material from the high school to really challenge his class. The list goes on. Tutoring isn’t just about being able to do the work; it’s about explaining the concepts behind the correct answer in a way that helps unlock understanding for your students. If you’re not actually an expert in a content area, don’t offer your services in it.
The more you can zero in on a specific skill set, the more in demand you will become. When I first started tutoring, I would list all of my qualifications: my undergraduate degree (my major plus two minors), my graduate degree, three additional endorsements, plus the fact that I am highly-qualified in all middle school content areas. I figured with that versatility, everyone would come knocking at my door. The truth is, once I started to make a name for myself as someone who worked with students who were transitioning from regular curriculum to gifted curriculum in English Language Arts and as someone who worked with struggling writers, then the clients poured in. Parents and guardians aren’t just interested in what you’re qualified to do; they want to know what expertise you have that separates you from the hundreds of other tutors in your area.
I’m not talking about being friendly with other tutors though that certainly never hurts. I’m talking about getting to know your libraries and local schools well. Many public libraries post official tutoring registries that you can request to join. Additionally, public schools may or may not have tutoring lists, but chances are the department chairs or curriculum directors will keep an informal list for parents who request services. Some schools even offer homebound tutoring for students who cannot attend school due to illness, injury, or some other extenuating circumstance. By putting your name and your credentials out there through more academic sources like libraries and schools, you are more likely to get interest from prospective clients.
Never Underestimate Word-of-Mouth
When I was first establishing myself as a tutor, I picked up my first few clients from a tutoring registry at my local library. Soon, though, those families were recommending me to other families and I actually started to have to turn people away. Families who are seeking out individual tutors are looking for progress, not necessarily perfection, at least not right away. Find ways to articulate growth and improvement through each session. You probably won’t be able to take a failing student and transform her into an A student overnight — or even within that same semester or school year — but you can certainly help her strengthen her deficit areas and boost her confidence. Once these successes start to stack up, don’t be surprised if a friend, neighbor, or relative of that student requests your services.
Tutoring is more than just a side hustle; it is an awesome responsibility. A family is entrusting you with their most precious resource — their child. Certainly, it is a great opportunity to earn extra income, but the rewards of helping someone overcome a struggle or master a new skill make this side hustle doubly powerful.
So Tell Me…Do you tutor? Have you ever considered tutoring?